The oil and gas industry doesn’t slow down in cold weather and knowing how to winterize your vacuum truck is important. Having a piece of equipment freeze in this industry is not only expensive, it’s catastrophic. Therefore, it’s extremely important to keep up with the required maintenance. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining vehicles and equipment goes up in cold weather. Vacuum trucks are a critical piece of equipment in the oil and gas industry. Vacuum Trucks transport fluids on a daily basis in both warm and cold climates. When tanks and valves freeze, it is not safe and requires immediate attention.
Trouble-Shooting and Prep
- Jobs take longer in the winter because the hydraulics slow down. To warm the hydraulic oil, place the PTO in gear and let the engine idle for a few minutes–this circulates the hydraulic oil. Run the truck as slowly as possible until the hydraulic oil is warmed.
- To ensure the system is never completely out of commission, add antifreeze. Antifreeze keeps it from reaching extremely cold temperatures and protects it when the system is not heated. In the coldest of environments, plug in the engine block heater which will keep it warm enough for an easier start.
- Rotate the tires on your trailer to lower the chances of low tread. Snow and ice are exceptionally dangerous when it comes to inadequate tires and rotating your tires will lower your chances of sliding. If you do slide – remember not to slam on the brakes but, pump them instead. Check your tires air pressure frequently and that you have the appropriate tires on the truck for certain weather conditions.
- Get heated valves and make them operational. Ball valves and knife gate valves can freeze in cold weather. This will help the truck run smoother during extremely cold temperatures.
- Drain the air tanks daily/multiple times a day to prevent break freeze up.
These are just a few steps to help you during harsh weather conditions. We recommend always being prepared for the unexpected. Inspect your vehicle and the vacuum equipment before putting it in use. Prepare your truck for possible weather conditions and pack emergency equipment just in case.
Cold Weather Solutions
Cold weather also creates a problem for vacuum trucks when storing them overnight. If you do not drain all of the water out of your machine before storing it, the pressure can build up within the tank, which can prove dangerous.
I recommend finding a solution that is easy to install with low maintenance costs. The most important thing is to maintain the functionality and productivity of the truck while providing a safe work environment for employees and the public.
Below are five things to look for in a heating solution:
- Low maintenance
- Adding heat instead of chemicals
- A single solution for multiple concerns
Powerblanket Custom Pipe Heaters
Weatherproof your business with Powerblanket pipe heaters. These advanced heaters provide freeze protection for your entire pipe & manifold system. The simple design eliminates the need for expensive work crews to install or remove heat trace, insulation and cladding. Unlike heat trace, Powerblanket does not have inrush current issues. Powerblanket’s world-class engineers design valve, manifold, and pipe heaters to fit perfectly on your piping system. These are an ideal solution for vacuum trucks.